Riders 'Average' In Scrimmage Finale

Members of the St. Marys Roughriders defense swarm to tackle Bellefontaine running back Ty Leeper in a scrimmage on Friday.
Staff Writer

St. Marys coach Doug Frye offered his honest assessment of the state of his team heading into the regular season next week after the Roughriders’ final scrimmage of the summer against Bellefontaine on Friday.

Average.

The Roughriders turned the ball over three times on offense and did not force a takeaway on defense; yet the team gained 272 total yards of offense and the second team/junior varsity squad scored 16 points in the final 1:00 of the timed portion of the scrimmage to end with a 23-21 score in favor of St. Marys.

But for Frye, his team’s play was too much up and down for his liking.

“I would say that we are pretty average right now, we are a pretty average football team,” he said. “I told the kids that I didn’t spend much time coaching tonight because I was spending most of my time trying to get guys to run on and off the field and break huddles. That is something that a seventh-grade coach is used to doing.

“I will try to spend a little bit more time next week coaching football.”

Bellefontaine opened the scrimmage with a touchdown, but had its extra point blocked. St. Marys answered with a 7-play, 70-yard TD drive when Ty Schlosser scored on a 17-yard run. That TD run was set up by a screen pass on fourth and 8 from Dylan Trogdlon to Ethan Wedding. The junior back broke a couple of tackles for a 33-yard gain and on the next play, Schlosser found paydirt. 

Henry Spencer’s extra point gave the Roughriders a 7-6 lead.

But that was the last time the varsity first team scored despite a redzone opportunity in the second quarter.

After a Chieftains’ three-and-out, Trogdlon was sacked on fourth play of the second drive, fumbling at midfield. Bellefontiane answered by converting two third-down plays and scoring on a 13-yard run that broke open when Ty Howell missed an open-field tackle to give the Chieftains a 13-7 lead. After each team traded possessions, the Roughriders mounted a drove inside the redzone, but a mixup on the handful resulted in another fumble and turnover with 2:32 remaining.

The first half ended with a pair of drives that yielded no points for either team, but after a period of special teams work coming out of halftime, Bellefontaine pushed the score to two possessions on its opening drive to lead 21-7. 

St. Marys’ third turnover came on the first snap of the second team, giving Bellefontaine the ball back, however, the Chieftains’ drive stalled at the 43 yard line.

The Roughriders responded when a Braeden Hemmelgarn 36-yard run off the right edge set up a 3-yard dive run by freshman Aiden Hinkle. A Hemmelgarn two-point rush conversion pulled the Roughriders to 21-15. 

And after a Bellefontaine three-and-out on its ensuing possession, Hemmelgarn, in essence, won the game when the sophomore run the right edge again and out-raced the defense with a 44-yard TD run. The two-point try gave the Roughriders a 23-21 win during the timed portion of the scrimmage.

“I thought there were times where we were close, but there is a fine line between being average and being good and we need to try to work through that line,” Frye said. “We will continue to coach the way that we have, we just need to see if our kids want to step up and be good or not for the rest of the way.”

The varsity team played the first half, gaining 185 total yards of offense, scoring seven points and turning the ball over twice. Frye said earlier this week about the play clock rules changing this year with the play clock beginning sooner and while he said that beating it was not an issue, the team’s tempo was up and down Friday night. 

The concerning aspect is the turnover ratio.

The Roughriders finish -5 in the turnover margin in their two scrimmages and did not force a turnover. St. Marys had a +32 margin all of last year.

“That is another thing that we pride ourselves on and that comes from leadership and other things,” Frye added. “I don’t think we are far away by any means. We are right on the cusp. It just depends on if we want to put the work in needed to get to the next level. Your work has to match your goals.”